Human Flesh Supplements

Sandy Almendarez, VP of Content

October 30, 2013

2 Min Read
Human Flesh Supplements

I expect things to get spooky this time of year with haunted houses and strangers coming to my door demanding sugar, but supplements made of human flesh? I couldn't have imagined that.

A recent article from The Korea Times said Chinese police arrested a pair of students (aged 26 and 21) who sold weight-loss "supplements" laced with human remains. The two allegedly smuggled 3,000 diet pills and 500 detox pills from China into South Korea, and containing human flesh.

The Korea Times reported 80 customers bought the pills, creating a 300-percent profit for the students. I can't image human flesh is a cheap filler or a beneficial excipient, so I'm guessing the customers were aware of the human ingredient; perhaps it was a selling point.

Along with human flesh, the pills also allegedly contained the sibutramine and phenolphthalein. We're familiar with both those ingredients in the United States. Sibutramine is a banned weight-loss drug that can lead to heart problems, and phenolphthalein is a cancer-causing chemical not approved for marketing in the United States. Both substances are also banned in South Korea.

Sadlyand creepilythis isn't the first case of human flesh pills in Korea. In May 2012, The Daily Mail reported more than 17,000 such pills were smuggled into South Korea during the previous nine months. The stomach-churning article describes illegal Chinese operations that take child corpses, dry them, create powder and market them as miracle cures.

And just this week the Yonhap News Agency said the South Korean government has not been able to stop the smuggling of pills made with human baby flesh, despite increased efforts during the past few years. The pills, marketed for stamina, contain harmful bacteria along with the flesh, according to the article.

The Korea Customs Service (KCS) uncovered 94 attemptstotaling about 43,600 pillsto illegally bring in human flesh capsules from August 2011 to August 2012, Yonhap News Agency reported.

While it disturbs me that adulterated products are still found in the U.S. market, so far, I don't think the U.S. FDA has encouraged a recall due to human flesh. This Halloween, I'm going to start my thanksgiving early; supplement adulteration could be a whole lot scarier.

About the Author(s)

Sandy Almendarez

VP of Content, Informa


• Well-known subject matter expert within the health & nutrition industry with more than 15 years’ experience reporting on natural products.

• She cares a lot about how healthy products are made, where their ingredients are sourced and how they affect human health.

• She knows that it’s the people behind the businesses — their motivations, feelings and emotions — drive industry growth, so that’s where she looks for content opportunities.

Sandy Almendarez is VP of Content for SupplySide and an award-winning journalist. She oversees the editorial and content marketing teams for the B2B media brands Natural Products Insider and Food and Beverage Insider, the education programming for the health and nutrition trade shows SupplySide East and SupplySide West, and community engagement across the SupplySide portfolio. She is a seasoned content strategist with a passion for health, good nutrition, sustainability and inclusion. With over 15 years of experience in the health and nutrition industry, Sandy brings a wealth of knowledge to her role as a content-focused business leader. With specialization in topics ranging from product development to content engagement, creative marketing and c-suite decision making, her work is known for its engaging style and its relevance for business leaders in the health and nutrition industry.

In her free time, Sandy loves running, drinking hot tea and watching her two kids grow up. She brews her own “Sandbucha” homemade kombucha; she’s happy to share if you’re ever in Phoenix!


Speaker credentials

Resides in

  • Phoenix, AZ


  • Arizona State University


Subscribe and receive the latest insights on the health and nutrition industry.
Join 37,000+ members. Yes, it's completely free.

You May Also Like